by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers
Dark hardwood floors have experienced a steady growth in popularity over the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. They provide beautiful contrast and a strong foundation for almost any interior design. Some homeowners fear that a dark floor will visually shrink space, but so long as the walls are brighter and there’s plenty of natural and artificial lighting, the concern doesn’t amount to much. Dark hardwood works exceptionally well with open floor plans in particular, which is why it has been incorporated into contemporary homes since their beginnings. Now that open layouts can be found within all kinds of our favorite exterior styles, the distinctive beauty of a rich, dark hardwood is spreading far and wide, and you should consider if it will add an extra something to your home!
Reasons to Love Dark Floors
A dark floor is stylish, and you can count on it to remain that way. You can find applications of dark hardwood everywhere—from new construction to old brownstones—and the character it adds to interiors is indisputable. It evokes a feel of stateliness in homes with simple, more elegant interiors, while it will help to make colors pop and look brighter for those of us who love to make a statement. No matter how a dark floor is used, it creates a contrasting backdrop that draws attention around the entire room. When you realize that the space seems more vibrant and that the floor is to thank, you’ll notice just how beautiful it is on its own, as well.
Dark hardwood gives you more flexibility than you probably think at first. Whether you use it to create a formal look or a more rustic vibe, you can dress it up to look modern or antique. It works with a wide range of fabrics and metals in just about every color, giving you the freedom to use its contrasting qualities to bring out the best in each element. Just avoid trying to match anything dark—you’ll find it difficult to succeed and can accidentally create a gloomy or confined ambiance.
No two floors are exactly the same, and the visual effect of one dark floor will likely be very different from that of another. Wood is a natural neutral that is easy to complement, which is why it has remained a favorite for flooring even as other parts of our homes have undergone engineering. What makes the darker varieties so distinct is the extra depth of their browns, and their increased universality as a result.
If you stick to a decidedly brown color, your interior design will be very easy to build on it. Whether you choose a floor that is walnut or espresso in hue, furniture and other treatments will look fantastic, even with the different overall impression afforded by the range of darkness. It can start to get tricky when you look into woods with red undertones. An aged cherry or mahogany floor has the potential to clash, so a carefully considered design will be necessary from the start. Keep it simple, and one of these floors will bring its own charm.
The allure of dark hardwood is undeniable, but it does come with a few downsides for the average homeowner. The maintenance of dark wood ends up being more than that of a lighter species to keep the floor looking its best. Every little scratch and dent shows more prominently, and keeping a pristine look will require more frequent refinishing. Some people compensate by selecting extremely hardy flooring, like an ultra-strand bamboo or ebony, to lessen the chance of damage in the first place, and by deciding on a distressed wood from the start, which appears rustic and will camouflage any accumulated wear and tear.
It’s not just damage that can keep a dark floor from looking great, though. Believe it or not, a darker floor is more likely than a lighter one to show dirt, so cleaning should be done regularly. The problem is intensified by glossiness, which will reflect and highlight dirt, dust, and pet hair, so matte flooring is recommended for most consumers. Another way around this issue is to choose wood with color variation, because total uniformity draws attention to any deviation from the norm. The bottom line is maintenance; if you can devote the time and energy, a dark floor in any sheen and color will look outstanding, but be prepared to compromise for a product that actually matches your lifestyle, too.
If you want to upgrade your floors, the huge selection from Lumber Liquidators can provide any look you’re hoping to achieve! You can order samples or visit your local showroom to see all the options laid out together, and to ask the experts for their opinions. It doesn’t have to be hard to pick a floor that you’ll love, so use the resources at your disposal to find the perfect solution for you and your design goals.